Mar 23, 2017

Jaina Chronicles: Slowing Down

The arrival of Jaina has brought all sorts of emotions I wasn't expecting. On one side, there's the positive: having more love for her than I thought possible. On the scary side, there's the abject terror at realizing I'm responsible for another living thing, whereas before I could just coast along by myself.

I almost had a breakdown Tuesday night before open mic. We were resting on the bed and she went into her mouthing mode where she tries to nibble on your hands. Being an unexperienced owner of a pit terrier, I saw this as an extremely negative development. She didn't seem to want to stop until I moved away, and the look in her eyes seemed aggressive to me. I freaked out inside. I saw visions of an aggressive dog that would attack others and not listen to me. It was my insecurities hitting me full force.

I teared up, and had to fight hard to stop them from rolling down my face. I walked away, and she followed as she normally does, thinking I might have some food in my possession. I couldn't look at her directly, if I did I would've cried uncontrollably. The wave wasn't passing. I had a heavy, sick feeling in my chest that I didn't have the skill or talent to do this, to raise a dog. I knew that her failure would only be a reflection of my own.

So I sat down at the keyboard and looked up mouthing. It's common. Natural. And that there are pretty straightforward methods when it comes to training them to always be gentle in this practice. Hell, I was bitten at least a half-dozen times by my Yorkie growing up, and he was extremely well-behaved overall. I calmed myself down quite a bit.

Since then, there have been mostly ups, but one down. She's no longer inhaling her food, and I can hear her chewing it. She's also beginning to understand the "sit" command.

On the down side, Matt came home late last night with another bombshell: his mother OD'd, purposefully. I know this fact doesn't really make sense here, but it's gotta go down. Jaina's at home with him right now (if he's at home), and I hope she is able to provide him some comfort, as she does me on a daily basis.

Mar 20, 2017

The Jaina Chronicles: A New Arrival

Well. Friday turned out to be an interesting day.

I visited Jaina at the local shelter the day prior, fell in love, and promptly submitted an application to adopt her. So I was a bit surprised to listen to a voicemail I let go from an unknown number stating that the application was approved and that they wanted me to schedule a pick up time.


My initial thoughts about getting a dog involved taking a couple of days off of work to get the pup acclimated to a new environment. With the boss and VP at a conference this week, taking off would be tough. I was hoping to take off the next Friday and following Monday for a long 4-day weekend. But I learned otherwise when I returned her call: they could hold her til Tuesday at the latest.

The choice was clear. I had to figure out how to get her over the weekend. Luckily, I was picking up a dog crate that evening by coincidence so I'd have enough to get by with the help of C and the extra supplies she offered to hold me over the weekend.

Which meant her arrival would add to the already-present chaos of having two other dogs at the house that I was watching for friends. Would not have willingly planned it that way.

So Saturday afternoon I picked her up. Not going to get into details here, plenty of those in the future. Let's just say things are going well. I'm feeling an incredible amount of joy at the end of this process, and I have C...the thank.

More soon.

Mar 14, 2017

Weird Times

Seems like nothing but those as of late.

Last week I went over this space, pulled in some of my writings from the in-between years and placed them here. Part of that entailed re-reading much of my older pieces when I was involved more heavily in creative nonfiction. It was quite an eye-opening task. It seems like I used to look at the world with a humble reverence, if not steeped in a bit of uncertainty and longing, but man the outlook seemed more positive up to a certain point.

But in truth, the things that still plague me plagued me then. I'd like to shift to a return to the old mode of thinking, if for little reason other than to remember, and to perhaps look at things through a lens of beauty when I'm feeling surrounded by things that aren't so great. I felt more in tune with things around me then, more in sync with my surroundings. But there is no magic wand for these things. Only heavy lifting.

The ex-gf who's more like a girlfriend is moving away in two months. Not going to get into the details contained in the first half of that sentence. They don't matter anyway. She's moving 4-5 hours away, and then she's either heading out of state after summer or somewhere in-state to a larger city. I had a thought at lunch, and I'll pose it as a question here: am I great at destroying beautiful things?

Now I struggle with cutting off our relationship sooner, or waiting til the ultimate cut-off date when she really leaves. I don't know what to do. Part of me feels like it can't grow until she's actually gone. Because as long as she's here, I'm going to want to be with her, but given she's not truly here for long, I'm lost.

I really would've liked to be her boyfriend again. I feel like we got to a nice place after we took a step back from the relationship. Can't help but think of the what-if: what if I just pressed her harder and agreed to work on it instead of refusing to bend after she walked away (for the nth time)? Now she's thanking me for the time we had because it's helped her face her demons, has made her stronger and helped her realize what she needs to do.

This is all great, and genuine, though the turnaround surprises me a bit. And fucking ironic that when I survey the landscape, I still feel lost. Maybe not as lost as 18 months ago. The road ahead will be taxing.

The band is struggling with the EP. Somehow came out of our last mixing session than a less-than-ideal result, something that shocked and dismayed us once we listened to tracks on a few sets of speakers. Also having issues deciding on one song title as well as the order of the songs. Sometimes I can feel the will ebb from my being.

Mar 9, 2017

Filling the Space Between

It would appear I've been writing in some form of this space since 2005. Twelve years. While the frequency of posts tends to ebb and flow, I seem to always return. Fortunately so. One of the reasons I write is to remember. Many posts on this very domain contain details I've since forgotten about. It's a luxury to be transported back to a place in time by words when the memory itself doesn't emerge.

Much of my creative writing ceased when I graduated college. Life became a lot more routine, and corporate. At the same time, I also started another blog focused on a niche interest; those posts won't be seen here, but I amassed several hundred since beginning in 2011. Writing has been there, but reflection through writing has been largely absent.

I return here as a humbled soul. One who is still haunted by the echoes of an old life no longer realized. I've spent some time this week re-reading these entries. The hopes, the failures. Perhaps what I'm struck by the most is how little real emotional progress I've made over the past years. How the depression hasn't really lessened. How I still seem to have little more direction than the wind provides.

In terms of having things, I have less than I ever have had. And that's not a possession thing, it's a structural thing. The roots of my foundation are not deep, the walls themselves barely holding. I'd like to return to writing and reflection, produce more nonfiction and poetry. But I fear it will be as many of my other expressed desires in this space: wanting followed by inaction.

Either way, will try to light the spark. Produce a flame. See farther into the darkness.

Feb 16, 2017

Carrying It

Man I'm still carrying around a lot of pain from my youth.

Was just listening to a story on the moth featuring a guy who as a kid lived with his friend's family for a period of time. It reminded me of the time that I lived with a friend and his family for a few months. Man, it was only a few months. Feels like longer that. Feels like it should've been.

I went there after the fallout I had with my mom; I'm sure I've written about that incident somewhere. Anyway, lived in their basement for a few months. Probably my presence there was just...I don't know. Whatever happened to "bud?"

Crazy I'm tearing up as I write this, 16 years after the incident. I was in a fragile state. Dad expectedly moved out, unexpectedly shaking up with another woman right away. Mom had a mental breakdown, which I took the brunt of and got hauled away in cuffs for.

I don't even remember when I left there for sure. But one night the friend and I were flirting with some girls on the phone (pre-text days, really) and we decided we were going to sneak out to go to their place. Something the friend had done on his own on occasion. It entailed slipping the car out of the garage. However he did it before, perhaps it was when his dad wasn't home. His dad heard, came out outside as we were backing out of the drive.

He wasn't happy. We'd recently talked about transitioning me out of their place and likely to my dad's, if I remember correctly. Prior to this, the timetable was weeks. He asked me that night, "When are you moving out?" anger and frustration in his voice and face. "Soon," I said, or something along those lines. I think he said something like "how about Monday?" which was like two or three days away.

I think the friend felt bad, but what could he do. Couple days later I was out of their lives and really didn't have much contact with them sense. Felt very much unwanted. But that act of sneaking out was probably the last straw. Never got disciplined for anything before. One time his dad was angry with me because I was joking about pain meds I was taking for a soccer injury. This was during the Brett Farve controversy so the climate was ripe. Just felt unwanted, unsupported.

Thinking about that time still makes me sad. Lots of not good things happened in that time period. I maybe could have come out of it better if I were smarter at the time, or if I had more sound guidance. I was essentially parentless from 17 on. Guardian-less. Hurts to not have many elders you can relate with and luck up to, how seem to be trying to understand you.

Dec 27, 2016

750 #18

Welp. Missed a couple of days due to the holiday. Wasn't really too busy, just didn't think much about it. Now it is Tuesday, since yesterday we had off for the holiday. Which means open mic night. I'm quite indifferent at the thought right now, and I'm looking forward to having next week off. Not having to worry about doing anything on a Tuesday night finally. I suppose it was the beginning of November when I took two and a half weeks off due to Blizzcon and the election.

Gosh I miss California and the space we occupied while we were out there for those five days. Paradise, truly. True fucking paradise. I'm listening to my Spotify playlist and I remember jamming to this song on one of the mornings after I got out of the shower. Can picture the place perfectly, the pool, the hot tub, the weather, the friends. Gosh. Nothing else was even going on in the world at that time. During that week. At least it didn't feel like it. Everything that mattered centered around 35,000 nerds celebrating their culture, and then, zooming in, seven friends and their adventures.

Man, if I could figure out how to be that happy all of the time. I swear I have so much energy when I'm feeling good in general. Not that it's a feat, but I can drink beer without flinching, can sleep only a handful of hours and wake up feeling incredible. It's amazing how much attitude can do for a person. I wish this keyboard wasn't so loud. I want to get one of those keyboards that's like super silent. Macbooks do a pretty good job with this; at least the clicks are a lot softer, more aesthetically pleasing.

So here's the deal, not even halfway through and I've gotta hammer this out soon before the smokers return from break. Of course, the flipside of typing faster is typing louder, so what can you do.

So not that distracted me, or my other chat programs, but now that I'm simply doubled down to make sure I'm 100% caught up so I can tackle things as they roll across my desk, I'm literally there. There are a few odds and ends to tie up, but right now all of those tasks are dependent on the work of other people here. Not sure exactly what to do with this now. I literally have one email sitting in my inbox right now, the one about the web service we are looking into. I will likely give that guy a call tomorrow to learn exactly what's up with the whole thing. To me it looks a lot more bare bones than I think the boss is bargaining for. Then again, the price seems about right to me to build a basic shell and then allow CMS, but again, I didn't see any mention of a CMS whatsoever.

Thursday's the night I'm supposed to go to the house of my job contact. I'm debating either to cancel on her tomorrow, or simply play the sick card. As the days have gone on and I've lent more thought to the idea of this position, I feel mostly dread. I don't know if that's fear simply getting the best of me. But when I envision where I want to go, generally, does this take me closer? I'm not sure. The money is attractive, but also makes me feel a little sick. The responsibilities, the way it would affect all the things I currently love; not excited about that.

Position will go live early next week; I hope they just get crushed with badass resumes so that I don't even need to bother heading in. I really do want to get into a position where I can help people and then move up in pay over time. I don't know if answering people's question about where they can get our cheese constitutes as the type of helping I want to do. I'm not even sure I "like" the way their cheese is made. I've heard many unflattering things. I don't feel good about "selling" a product people don't need. That's the conflicting part, among other things.

I'm going to let it sit another day and likely made a game time decision. Don't know if there's a better way to go about it. As others said, going through the process wouldn't hurt anything; provide more experience if nothing else. But what of the small chance they actually pick me? Ugh.

Dec 23, 2016

750 #17

Happy Friday.

Let's see. Primary topic on the brain is this potential new job. I'm not very excited about, and what I am excited should never (in my opinion) be the sole reason to go for a job: the money. The money is a life-changer. But as I imagine everything else about the job, nothing jumps out at me. It's also not that I feel under-qualified, I KNOW I'm under-qualified. I've been in this industry before, seen a bit of how it works. I went through the beginnings of the corporate interview process with Mercury, and that wasn't fun. I know how they do things---they take this shit seriously. Paying someone that salary is likely looked at (ideally) as a million-dollar investment. They want that person to be good, to know their shit; I would think more that than looking for someone who can learn.

I just don't feel adequate or strong at a base level right now. Life is still in pieces, really. I would really appear before this panel as somewhat of a fraud. Yes, I did spend the three years in advertising, but that feels like so long ago. I feel in this instance I need to sell myself so hard, when other people's resume's will do all the selling needed. They say they're in need of a writer most of all. How good of a writer am I though? For brands? Marketing was never my forte, and they're going to need someone like that. I'm contemplating at this point contacting my person there to list my concerns and reservations at this point. I don't want to disappoint her or let her down. And I don't want her to even go to bat for me if my heart isn't in it. And if I were her, my feelings right now would be red flags; you don't want to have to sell this job to a person who is making less than half of what you'd pay him.

I feel like I need guidance on this, but at the same time, my gut is sending mixed signals, but stronger ones of flight. I don't know what to do. I suppose perhaps I should do some meditating...try it for once, and let this ruminate for the weekend. I must have a decision on Monday, whether or not I'm even going to meet with my contact. I suppose the meeting itself wouldn't hurt. At minimum, I'd get some free food and drinks and have the ability to catch up and have fun with some old friends. Con of course is I'll miss part or all of raid night, but I suppose taking this job might also require the acceptance that I won't be able to be as involved with the guild and gaming in general as I have been. Perhaps many of the things I'm used to. I suppose that's it. It'd be a bit of a routine changer, too. In fact, there'd be less routine in general. I'd be more beholden to my work life, which would take up more of my free time, but potentially the free time I have could be more meaningful. I mean, I could take trips, buy myself new clothes for the first time in over a decade. Live a comfortable life.

But I still don't know if that will be fulfilling. I don't know how to be. I'm still trying to figure out who I am...and what it even means to be something. I need to learn to let go of the rules. Of preconceived notions that things or people need to be defined as a certain way. This job would be life-changing. Maybe that's part of what gets me. I'm so damn close to something like this...but yet so far away. So close, the closest I'll likely ever get thanks to my friend who wants me out there. Will never have an opportunity to get an interview like this again. Looks like I'll have to trim the beard and find a proper outfit that's not too corporate but nice enough and still me. I'm not feeling a suit coat. I suppose that is something I can figure out and we can work on next week, assuming I take the meeting on Thursday. Things are dead slow today at the office. I finished my to-do list early in the AM so have mostly been checking my work from yesterday. I think last year boss let us out an hour or so early. Perhaps we will get that again this year. No bonus, of course.